We used to watch this show that came on the Science Channel called Build it Bigger. The show details how some of the world’s most unique and magnificent buildings were built. One day we were watching the show and were blown away by the episode of Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore. The crowning feature on the hotel is the Sky Park, which includes an infinity pool at heights that will make you cringe.
We promised we would stay there one day. So three years later when we started planning our hotel stay for Singapore, we knew we wanted to stay there. We were apprehensive about the price tag ($370 nightly) so we decided to just stay there for one night and move to a cheaper hotel for the rest of the stay.
The hotel is beautiful, the service was fantastic. There is an underground pathway that takes you across the street to a sprawling mall. But of course, the reason we were there was the pool. We spent an evening at the pool, enjoying the amazing view of Singapore’s financial district.
As I mentioned in part 1, the food options were insane! Singapore is known for it’s hawker stalls, which are basically street food, but its a lot cleaner. At some point, the government came in and forced all street vendors to move to these central locations (there are about 7 of them around town) where it’s easier to keep track of who’s who.
One of Singapore’s signature dishes is chicken rice. We tried it but weren’t blown away. It’s a boiled chicken, skin on, layered over a bed of rice. We also had a bowl of laksa, another popular dish. This we enjoyed. It reminded me of a bowl of ramen on steroids.
We had heard about a really good dish called chili crab. Everyone told us we had to try it. We searched the internet for some places that served it and found that it’s a very expensive dish. But we weren’t going to leave without trying it. We jumped in a taxi and asked the driver where we could find the best chili crab. “No sign board!”
“No sign board café,” he repeated. It was hard to understand him. We had no clue what he was talking about. Well just take us there.
So he drives us to this area, a little dingier than the Marina Bay area of course. We pull up at this shack with outdoor seating that was full! People sitting on stools, loud, noisy. What in the world! We look up and the sign read “No Sign Board Seafood”. We knew we were in the right place. We only have one picture of the chili crab and it’s not great, but this is the single best dish we’ve ever had, home or abroad. It’s a huge crab boiled in a pot of chili, that’s the best way to describe it. And it’s served with sweet bread rolls on the side as a tool to mop up the chili.
We went on from the chili crab and tried durian for the first time and didn’t like it. It’s this weird fruit with sticky, stinky pulp inside. People would walk up to a guy who had a stack of durian, he grabs a machete and chucks it open for you. Then you sit at a table with a bunch of strangers and dig in. The people there love it.
There is a restaurant in the Arab district just across the street from the Sultan Mosque called Zam Zam Restaurant. There’s a row of restaurants on the street and we had no idea which one was good. So we just stood and watched for about 5 minutes and noticed everyone was headed into Zam Zam. So we followed them. Their specialty was something called murtabak – “a stuffed pancake or pan-fried bread which is commonly found in Saudi Arabia (especially the Tihamah and the Hejaz regions), Yemen, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Thailand. Depending on the location, the name and ingredients can significantly vary.” I copied that from Wikipedia because it was hard to explain. But you can choose to stuff the murtabak with lamb, chicken, deer, anything. So we had one of those and it was excellent.
But the dish that we will talk about forever is the fish head curry. Saleh thought he was being funny and ordered the weirdest thing on the menu. Turns out, the fish head curry was delicious! There’s a picture in the Instagram album, but it’s basically a huge fish’s head inside a bowl of curry with onions, tomato and other veggies. Normally, you just toss the head of a fish. This head was meaty! Just a beautifully put together dish.
There were other items we tried in the hawker markets like red bean paste filled donut-type pastries. I fell in love with red bean paste after this. We had shaved ice with red beans, fruit and condensed milk drizzled on top. We had smoothies made out of fruits we didn’t know existed. Food is life and if you want to live, travel for the best food life has to offer.
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